MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A fatal deer disease is inching closer to Alabama, where whitetail deer are the most popular game animal and hunting generates a $1.8 billion yearly economic impact.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports that a dead buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Mississippi’s Issaquena County last month; until then, the closest state to Alabama with the neurological disease was Arkansas.
Chuck Sykes with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division says it’s unlikely a diseased deer would wander “over an imaginary line on a map,” but that infected meat or animals could be brought in knowingly or unknowingly. Alabama has banned the import of carcasses from states where CWD has been confirmed.
The department says states with CWD have seen an up to 40 percent decrease in hunting license sales.